Good intentions lost along the way

By Vinal Van Benthem | For The Compass | October 4, 2017

They killed his servants and then they killed his son. But was that really what the tenants had intended to do when they originally leased the land?

Bill began working for the campaign as an intern. A political science major, it seemed only natural that he would want to participate in the upcoming elections, so Bill began attending campaign committee meetings. The other members of the committee treated him as they would any newcomer, offering praise when he did well and constructive criticism when they felt he could do something better. But Bill did not handle the criticism nearly as well as he did the praise. Slowly but surely Bill started to change. His contributions to the conversation became more scripted, more intended to win him praise, and less honest.

As Bill worked to curry favor it became obvious that he was no longer working for the candidate he felt was the best for the position, but for the candidate that he thought had the best chance of winning the election, and that the very talents that had made him so valuable to the candidate in the beginning were now being used against him.

Hank was committed to the environment and to purchasing only products that were environmentally friendly. But when Hank realized that the environmentally friendly products generally cost more and, in some cases, involved more work, he went back to buying the discounted brands, even though they might be potentially harmful to the environment.

Mary was determined to purchase only organic produce. She soon realized that not only was it more expensive, but it was also more likely to spoil if it wasn’t used quickly. She decided to return to buying the cheaper produce, even though she knew there was a greater danger from pesticides and that, having in many cases been picked early and ripened artificially, may not taste as good.

Bill, Hank and Mary started out with the best of intentions but, little by little, they killed that part of themselves that had been reaching for the greater good. Vineyards, it would seem, can be very dangerous places.

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister in the diocese.

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